Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Feb. 21, 2000

Death was often part of pioneer life

By Edward Reinmuth and other family members

Last of a four-part series.


Great-grandmother Barbara

Great-grandmother's maiden name was Maria Barbara Banspach. She was born June 27, 1824 in Bargen, Germany. She died in Howard Lake, Dec. 27, l868.

Not much is known about her as a child, but we do know that she had many trials and tribulations in her lifetime. One by one, as their children became ill and died, each was buried near the old log cabin.

One day in December 1868, Barbara was walking over to visit a neighbor accompanied by her little girls. Mary was age 8 and Victoria was 2. As they were walking along, Barbara was stricken with a heart attack.

Little Mary ran home to get her father to come and help. He was out in the field, but she did find her brother, Lewis, who was 16 years old then. They managed to get their mother, Barbara, back home, but she died later that day before a doctor could be summoned.

Great-grandmother was buried next to her little children, who had passed on before her, in the little cemetery on the family farm. Some evergreen trees were planted around the graves. Later, when great-grandfather J.G. died, he was also buried there, next to his wife, Barbara.

A large monument and smaller markers were placed near the graves and remain there to this day. In later years, great-grandfather J.G. (Johann George) wished to be known as George, and that remained as he wished until his death.

Frank and Hilda Westphal's daughter, Eleanor, is also buried in the little cemetery. She was a grandchild of George and Barbara. There are seven graves in that cemetery. It is considered a pioneer cemetery and an historical site and it should be left undisturbed as long as it exists.

Second generation of Reinmuths

Of the second generation, only three of 12 children survived to become adults. They were Grandfather Ludweg "Lewis" Reinmuth, his brother Aron, and Mary, his sister.

Lewis, the oldest, was born in Mortlstein, Germany in 1852. He was 2 years old when the family came to America. He was four or five when the family came to Minnesota, and probably six when they came out to the wilderness and the cabin on the shore of Howard Lake. It wasn't called Howard Lake at that time, but later the town was named after an English philanthropist John Howard.

Lewis grew to manhood there and helped his father clear the land of trees, rocks and stumps. After his mother died, I'm sure that he had to take care of his little brother, Aron, and his sisters, Mary and Victoria. It was during this period of time that Victoria became ill.

Grandmother Bertha related to me that Great-grandfather George carried little Victoria all the way to St. Anthony to see a doctor and try to get help for her, but it was to no avail because she died a short time later at home.

She was buried next to her mother in the little family cemetery. Aron would have been about 7 years old when his mother, Barbara, died. Now there were only the three children left, who grew up to be adults, Mary, Lewis, and Aron.

It was so tragic that so many of the children died. It was possible that they suffered from malnutrition, not having enough fruits, vegetables and milk for good nutrition. Grandmother Bertha said that they died from rickets.

Grandfather Lewis continued to live at home. He was then 29 years old. It was in the late 1870s that J.G. decided to build a new frame house on the farm. It was located farther up the hill to the east from the cabin which the family had outgrown.

One account stated that it remained unfinished until 1880. This is the time that J.G. wanted it finished and the house was ready to be plastered. He engaged the Uecker boys from Albin Township to do the plastering.

They became acquainted with Lewis and found out that he was a single man. They began to tell him about their sister, Bertha, who also was a single girl and that she might like to meet him.

Lewis decided to make the trip out to Albin and find out for himself. He met and liked Bertha and after a very short courtship, the couple were married Dec. 26, 1881.

The couple made their home on the farm, sharing the house with Grandfather's sister, Mary, Aron, and Great-grandfather George.

Lewis and Bertha had nine children. They are as follows.

  • Fredda born Sept. 2, 1885, died Sept. 3, 1885;
  • Hilda born May, 15, 1886, died Nov. 22, 1972;
  • Matie born July 7, 1888, died Sept. 9, 1960;
  • George W. born Aug. 16, 1891, died Oct. 11, 1974.
  • Allen born Dec. l3, 1892, died May 10, 1939;
  • Otto born Dec. 5, 1893, died Mar. 5, 1907;
  • Helen born Nov. 9, 1896, died Feb. 6, 1986;
  • Marie born Feb. 20, 1900, died May 18, 1975; and
  • Louis, my father, born Feb. 28, 1902, died Dec. 28, 1973.

Back to Part 3


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